The National Institute of Health is in an uncomfortable position after it was revealed that they funded a bizarre study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh involving human tissue from aborted babies and lab rats. According to their scientific article, U-Pittsburgh researchers used scalp tissue from aborted babies and grafted it into mice in order to build “humanized rat models” which could be used as a “platform for studying human skin infections.”
The study has already been criticized by pro-life activists, with the PA Family Council and PA Family Institute garnering signatures for an open letter directed to the Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh and to Pennsylvania’s General Assembly asking for U-Pit to immediately end any experiment on aborted babies and condemning the practice of inserting fetal skin on rodents as “inhumane.”
The issue was also brought on an edition of Tucker Carlson’s primetime TV show in Fox News, with pro-life activist David Daleiden condemning the study, explained how the researchers grafted the scalp of aborted babies on the lab rats to observe how much hair they could grow and clarifired that the study was funded by the NIAID, the department run by Dr. Fauci.
He also claimed that while he was undercover in Planned Parenthood, people from the organization told him they “were the ones supplying the aborted baby parts for experiments at the University of Pittsburgh”, a claim that the University of Pittsburgh denies. The University of Pittsburgh also claims, in a hearing to Pennsylvania’s House Health Committee, that they are following “all laws and guidelines” for their experiments.
Daleiden also said that the study. used the scalps of 5 month-old aborted babies, which would mean the researchers would have had to be “intact” in order to get the tissue needed for the experiment, which he argues could only happen for partial-birth abortions.
According to the report of the experiment itself, which contains pictures of the grafted human hair in the lab mice, the use of “human fetal-derived tissues and cells provide a feasible means to develop a humanized mouse model with autologous human skin and immune system” which is why they decide to transplant “human full-thickness fetal skin” to adolescent lab rats.
The report itself clarifies that the study was funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), specifically the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Health- Fogarty International Center.
Fauci, the director of the NIAID which partly funded the project, has also been questioned over his involvement in the financing by the NIH to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the lab where the United States has centred its efforts on the investigation of the origins of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The fact that the NIAID also funded a study where human tissue collected from aborted fetus was grafted on lab rats, will surely not play well with conservatives who are already growing sceptical over Fauci’s job performance.
The argument over moral implications of the study and the role of the U.S government funding such an experiment with taxpayer dollars comes at a time when the issue of abortion will be at the center of the stage in the American political arena, with the United States Supreme Court set to decide over the constitutionality of Mississippi’s bill restricting abortions passed in 2018.
The controversy over the study also happens months after the National Institute of Health revoked Trump-era restrictions on the funding of research studies that use fetal tissue. The decision to reverse the regulations by the previous administrations also underscores the inherent ethical questions and political dynamics that the NIH and other governmental agencies have to confront when deciding which guidelines to follow when approving grants to research projects.
The issue of abortion remains one of the most divisive and passionate ones in American politics, however, it is easy to understand why pro-life activists are outraged that taxpayer money is being used in research studies as bizarre and grotesque as the one developed by the University of Pittsburgh.